Star hedge fund Winton hits $25bn

THE hedge fund run by star trader David Harding has defied the industry’s poor performance this year to make returns on investments of around 6.3 per cent so far.

City A.M. understands that Winton Capital, which uses scientific research to spot patterns in market behaviour, has seen funds under management rise by about 45 per cent to $25bn (£16.04bn) since 31 December.

Market swings meant August was an especially grim month for hedge funds but Winton made gains of around two per cent. It is understood returns were marginally positive last month, when the Eurozone debt crisis weighed on markets.

Harding, a Cambridge natural sciences graduate, has assembled a large research team which make up about half of Winton’s 200 staff. In August it was ranked as Europe’s fifth largest hedge fund. Harding has twice built “black box” funds, which use sophisticated computer programmes. In 1987 he co-founded AHL and ten years later, after it was bought by Man Group, he left to set up Winton. He received a dividend payment of £54m in 2009.

Both funds run managed futures strategies or commodity trading advisers – complex, computer-driven strategies following trends in a range of global futures markets, including oil, equities, bonds and commodities.

Winton Capital Management increased pre-tax profits to £183.7m last year, up from £52.8m.